The state Senate on Monday confirmed the nomination of Christopher D. Cerf as New Jersey Commissioner of Education, 28-0. The nomination of Cerf, who has served as acting commissioner for 18 months, had been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee following a confirmation hearing last week.
Gov. Chris Christie nominated Cerf for the post in December 2010. However, his confirmation hearing had been blocked by a state senator through "senatorial courtesy," a custom that allows a legislator to prevent the confirmation of a nominee from his or her home county. A recent change in Cerf's county of residence enabled the nomination to move forward.
During Cerf's term as acting commissioner, the New Jersey Department of Education implemented a number of initiatives, ranging from the current development of a statewide teacher evaluation system to amending the state's monitoring process (NJQSAC) to relieve most school districts of administrative burden.
Cerf has also supported reforms in areas such as tenure and seniority, which are consistent with long-held beliefs of the Association.
While noting that the Association has not agreed with all recent Department of Education initiatives, NJSBA President John Bulina cited the importance of "continuity of leadership" in the cabinet-level position during a period of education reform. He also expressed the hope that "support for the local governance of education and the role of local boards of education" would be reflected in future policies advanced by the state Department of Education.
"We hope to work with Commissioner Cerf toward our mutual goal of advancing the achievement of all New Jersey students," said Bulina.